Power to Break Chains
Power to Break Chains (ίσχύω)
Despite the fact that Jesus’ gave His disciples authority to expel demons (see Mark 6:7), their attempt to dislodge a demon from a young boy met with total failure. The father of the demonized boy pinpointed the cause: “they did not have the power/strength” (Mark 9:18; ίσχύω). They had Jesus’ authority, but no power. They lacked the supernatural power required to expel the demon. Divine authority without power equals powerlessness; the disciples might well have used spit-wads.
Where does the power to break chains come from? Jesus explained the root problem to his disciples, but he did it in private: “This type can only come out by prayer.” (Mark 9:29) The disciples failed to dislodge a demon from a child because they lacked the spiritual horsepower.
And they lacked the power because they failed to sustain a lifestyle of prayer. They could not blame their failure on Jesus’ absence. They failed to pray faithfully and so they failed. The young boy remained chained to a suicidal demon. The power necessary to dislodge deep sin and strongholds in the hearts of people flows from a life of sustained prayer. The prayer of power.
A lifestyle of prayer—not emergency type prayers--expresses our belief that we bring nothing to the battle; apart from God’s power, we are powerless, helpless to effectuate deep change. But God’s mighty power, acquired and sustained by a life of habitual prayer, can break demonic chains. Paul agrees:
“Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power (ίσχύω)…praying at all times for all the saints…” Ephesians 6:18
Perhaps you identify with either the father (with a long standing problem in the family) or with the disciples, men and women called to serve Jesus and disciple others. The disciples failed. The father no doubt felt like a failure. The father needs to increase his faith in Jesus and the disciples need to grow in humility, expressed by a life of sustained prayer. Sustained prayer taps into God’s powerhouse. Only God’s power can break chains of slavery. And when those chains snap, God receives all the glory. And people go free.